Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope fulfills the “Retelling of a Classic” category on the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge.
This retelling fell short.
I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I read Pride and Prejudice no less than four times in college. The book is my all-time favorite. I dipped into the rest of her books when the Sense and Sensibility movie premiered. The story touched my heart in a way I can’t put into words. Everything about it spoke to me. And this book was a poor reproduction.
Austen retellings fill my shelves. (I even have the Choose Your Own Adventure one for another category). I read Bridget Jones’s Diary, disliked it, and wrote my own version. The book came out just okay. I learned if you’re going to take on the master, do it right. I’ve enjoyed many retellings of various tales that hit the mark and even knock it out of the park (Cinder being one). But this book took the story, threw in an iPod, and called it a retelling.
I had some problems with the fact that the Dashwood women couldn’t work. Why the hell not? It’s the twenty-first century, and her mother wouldn’t bag at the grocery store to pay for a house, bills, a car, something? Why did Elinor have to take care of the family? In Austen’s book, women couldn’t work. But this Mrs. Dashwood, yeah, slacker. You have three kids to support. Get a job.
Next, the book sounded as if written in the 1800s. The language was strangled and old fashioned. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind the author’s choice. There were no habits of a modern family in the book, only Margaret with her iPod. No one watched TV or used the Internet. They had phones but…The book completely failed to make me believe we were modern times. Why did no one Google Willoughby?
I think I mostly did not enjoy this retelling because it left out my two favorite movements. One: when Marianne is deathly ill and Colonel Brandon begs for an occupation to help her. OMG! The tears at that scene and then the sisters get you again when Elinor begs Marianne not to leave her alone.
**small sobbing break**
That scene was not in the book. Nor was the scene at the end when Edward Ferrars comes back to see Elinor. She congratulates him on his marriage and he says, “You must mean my brother. I am not married.” Elinor breaks into sobs and her mother and sisters sneak out the door. That scene makes me cry hard every time. The book failed to show that pivotal emotional moment when Elinor finally lets go.
I didn’t care for this version of Sense and Sensibility. I probably won’t read the others in the series. Disappointed…. I give the book Three Sad Little Stars.